Mark Wahlberg is everywhere in "Patriots Day," and that's not a good thing. (Credit: Sipa USA)

Mark Wahlberg is everywhere in “Patriots Day,” and that’s not a good thing. (Credit: Sipa USA)

Much of the debate around “Patriots Day,” the new film about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, has focused on whether the movie should have been made this soon, or at all. It’s a legitimate, interesting debate that has been going on for a while. There are bombing survivors and local residents on both sides of the argument, people who were willing to work with the movie and support it and people who wanted nothing to do with it and have no intention of ever seeing it. Neither side is wrong in its approach.

I never had a strong opinion either way. That’s not to say I didn’t care, because I did. But I knew a movie was going to get made eventually, and whether it was too soon didn’t seem like something I was qualified to decide. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of “Patriots Day,” but I wasn’t disgusted with it either.

So, I think I went into it with a fairly open mind. After seeing it, I’d love to be able to give you some sort of hot take — that it was an incredible film that will win over even the biggest skeptics, or that it was a total trainwreck that every Bostonian should avoid.

But “Patriots Day” is neither of those things. It’s a movie that does some things really well, but that also makes too many unnecessary and, quite frankly, distracting changes to a story that was more than dramatic enough already.

The most unnecessary and distracting change is its star: Mark Wahlberg. His character, Boston Police Sergeant Tommy Saunders, isn’t a real person. It’s a composite, but it’s unclear why anyone associated with the movie felt that a composite lead character was needed. A cynic would say it’s just so there would be a big role for a big star. Others might say it’s to give the audience a connective tissue as the film bounces all over Boston, Cambridge and Watertown.

If it’s the former, shame on Wahlberg and director Peter Berg. If it’s the latter, then Wahlberg and Berg seem to underestimate the intelligence of their audience. Maybe being a Bostonian and knowing so much of the story clouds my judgment here. Maybe someone not as familiar with it would have a tough time keeping up if they didn’t have Saunders to follow.

But the idea of a made-up character getting so much attention and being the hero so often — seriously, Saunders shows up EVERYWHERE — is tough to swallow. Obviously there’s no way to tell the stories of every survivor and police officer in a single film, which is why I really don’t have a problem with Sean Collier, Dun Meng, Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky getting significant screen time, including back stories, while so many others are left out completely. Even a documentary, like HBO’s terrific “Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing,” can’t cover everything.

Narrowing the focus makes for a better, more personal movie, and those four are certainly worthy of that kind of focus. Their scenes are mostly done well, especially Meng’s hair-raising ride-along with the Tsarnaev brothers and subsequent mad dash to freedom. Speaking of the Tsarnaevs, their scenes are also done well, and were every bit as chilling as you’d imagine. The filmmakers did, however, give Collier a love interest that his family says didn’t exist, which is just a weird, unnecessary change.

It’s in that vein that you can start to see why someone may have thought a composite lead character was a good idea. If zeroing in on a handful of people makes for a more engaging watch, then why not do that with a BPD officer too? The problem, of course, is that Collier, Meng, Downes and Kensky are all real people, and Saunders is not. So by making Saunders such an important character in the movie, you put a fake person on the same level as, or even elevate him above, real heroes.

It’s not just that Saunders is present for so many important developments (he’s at the finish line, he’s at the command center, he’s in Watertown for both the shootout and the boat capture). It’s that he’s the main man every step of the way. If he were just there for it all, somewhere in the background, maybe it’d be fine. But he’s one of the first ones over the barriers when the bombs go off. He’s the one calling for ambulances and ordering the race to be stopped. He’s the one who knows everything about surveillance video in the area. He’s the first one to arrive at the boat in the climactic scene. He gets a back story and scenes at his home. He gets to give a big speech about good vs. evil that barely even makes sense (there’s a seemingly random tangent about his wife not being able to have kids?). He gets the emotional sob scene where he recounts the carnage he saw.

It’s just too much. That kind of attention could have and should have gone to real officers, even if none of them were involved in every single major development. Many of those scenes were done well — the chaos and confusion in the immediate aftermath of the bombs going off; the behind-the-scenes looks at the investigation, the manhunt, and decisions like releasing photos of the suspects and shutting down the city — but Saunders’ presence was often more of a distraction than a guiding hand.

I really don’t want to accuse Wahlberg of living out some stolen valor fantasy like some others have (although his infamous 9/11 comments are hard to escape). I have a mostly positive opinion of him (full disclosure: I was present for a WRKO radiothon a couple years ago when he called in and donated $100,000 to help military families), and I want to believe he really did have the best of intentions with this movie. Unfortunately, “Patriots Day” would have been better without him, or at least with a lot less of him.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin
Christian and Pete Sheppard talk about Duke's Grayson Allen losing it on the bench last night. They wonder if he's just a poor sport, or if there's something more there. Christian relays a story of disappointment and anger form his Youth Football days.
Pete Sheppard relays a story from years ago, where "Media Member" Christian was afraid to ask Bill Belichick any questions during an interview. Christian denies it, but the evidence is pretty prolific.

[0:01:45] ... you'll I was after a Sunday night it. And Diego city at Matt Cassel Matt Cassel lost 2008. They I was regular season game yeah yeah that they that they lost and Appleby one of those nights it ...
[0:02:46] ... the time or Hillary are rated a Christian I'm ready to do Bill Belichick for Pritchard Monday. Christian and a tough loss at San Diego. Christian. Asked him meant nothing. He sat there and peace that their right elect a little bit he sat there. And you'll ...
[0:07:01] ... was a it's well. He calls me up like last minute. What college football and removed from sport. All Ireland I used to what you're. Patriots. Back in business you know what it was. Like. The ...
[0:09:25] ... prepared. Hopefully I had a bit and I don't and it. That Matt Cassel threw electors. Again read the opportunity. Somehow like bad re. Spoke on a teapot and a Mac. Didn't. Yeah we questions as. ...

Christian and Pete Sheppard discuss the Patriots-Jets game on Christmas Eve. Christian says the game will be over by halftime. Pete says it will be over by the National Anthem. Pete also thinks Todd Bowles will be fired after the game if the Jets lose.

[0:00:15] ... on her FaceBook page saying. So clearly the elite security nor the San Diego Chargers care that they having masturbating security guard that the game. With a glint Lou interest you wonder what the hell's going on ...
[0:06:56] ... more gorgeous satisfied with where the rat status quo we're all good. Brandon Marshall no touchdowns in the last three games did have a escort at the plate to first meeting. But he sat in the ...
[0:08:20] ... attacking got a big wide receivers as you saw there a chance Brandon Marshall I knew what Hattig big handicap challenging. The relief. You know hike challenge of Malcolm Butler the case that there are going ...
[0:20:02] ... some serious soul search to their third Derek joke. Senators thing the Buffalo Bills to finish 97. But the ability to finish in Israel and bill. In it I hope that happens. I hope to god that happens though because you know I don't. I don't wanna see Rex Ryan go anywhere. I do not want to see them analyzing any games I don't wanna see him on good morning a football I don't want the mom and except fox. No lake you know talking head you know pregame show. No I wanna see him twice a year. Against the patriots that's what I want but my ultimate. ...


SB NationDuke has suspended Grayson Allen indefinitely for tripping Elon’s Steven Santa Ana, the program has announced. This is the third time Allen has been caught tripping an opponent. Being a repeat offender was finally enough for coach Mike Krzyzewski to discipline him.

Here’s Coach K’s statement on Allen:

“We have had the opportunity to thoroughly review the incident involving Grayson Allen from last night’s game against Elon. As I stated last night, the incident was unacceptable and inexcusable. He took an important step last night by apologizing in person to Steven Santa Ana and Coach Matt Matheny. As a program, we needed to take further steps regarding his actions that do not meet the standards of Duke Basketball. To that end, we have determined that Grayson will be suspended from competition for an indefinite amount of time.”

Allen’s latest trip earned him a technical foul for the officials. 

Allen promptly threw a tantrum on the bench that was caught by ESPN cameras. He and Krzyzewski apologized to Santa Ana and Elon coach Matt Matheny after the game. Coach K called Allen’s act “unacceptable” in a postgame press conference but stopped short of saying he would suspend him.

Now it’s finally happened. Allen has a history of this exact thing. He tripped a Louisville player in February of last year, then tripped a Florida State player later in the month.

Allen was No. 1 on our preseason list of the best players in college basketball. His brilliant sophomore campaign was marred by tripping opponents and he’s done it again as a junior.

Good. This kid is a brat.

If you’re really that good at basketball you shouldn’t have to be tripping people. Plus, he’s not subtle about it at all. You can’t blatantly stick your foot out and trip someone and then throw your arms up at him like you have no idea on earth how he fell.

His latest trip was so comically obvious there was no way he wasn’t getting caught.

Duke finally did the right thing here.

Blog Author: 
Lucy Burdge

According to Lakyn’s Instagram, baby Griffin Wyatt was born on Dec. 20. 

Thank you to the Holts for doing this in the offseason so we can avoid the dumb debate about whether or not he should miss a game or two for the birth.

Blog Author: 
Lucy Burdge
Kirk and Gerry are on vacation. Curtis and Ken saw Patriots Day.

[0:02:54] ... Sunday why doesn't just come in on Tuesday arrested the whole week Tom Brady radiant. They have to because it's Tuesday instead of Monday because Monday. Is now is how correct. It is normally he'd be ...
[0:05:08] ... wild yet. Yeah you're right you guys company Arizona stop what about Bill Belichick and the patriots. You'd think you'd think they they. This guy in the beat themselves and what impact state may have been ...
[0:06:41] ... as your argument because his argument was well on meet. Any of bill Belichick's players could get in trouble and if they got a DUI. That's terrible terrible. Sorry Kevin I'm actually dropped you on a ...
[0:21:12] ... this decisions differently we talked about that. That the cash pay that Bill Belichick and the patriots have built up over the years sort of the in bill we trust and that locker room can bring ...

Trenni, Reimer and Andy Hart dig deeper into the Michael Floyd acquisition and if it was morally OK.
Trenni, Reimer and Andy Hart continue the Michael Floyd discussion and Intern Kyle's top 10 K&C moments of the fall in 'Headlines'
Trenni, Alex Reimer and Andy Hart open the show talking about Michael Floyd's "super extreme DUI"